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In our increasingly indoor-focused world, the quality of the air we breathe within the confines of our homes has emerged as a crucial factor for comfortable and healthy living. A recent study led by experts from the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana sheds light on the issue of indoor air pollution and its potential health impacts.

Emphasizing the significance of indoor air quality, Dr. Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor of PAU, stated that as people spend more time indoors, addressing indoor pollution becomes paramount for overall well-being. He highlighted that indoor air pollution is a significant concern, with research indicating that indoor air can be up to 12 times more polluted than outside air due to various compounds found in building materials and products. The adverse effects of poor indoor air quality include respiratory issues, skin irritations, and potential links to serious health conditions, urging for proactive measures to mitigate indoor pollution.

Dr. Ajmer Singh Dhatt, the Director of Research, pinpointed inadequate ventilation caused by air conditioning systems as a major contributor to indoor air pollution. He noted that while air conditioning provides comfort, it can lead to higher concentrations of pollutants like carbon dioxide indoors, negatively affecting human health. Contaminants released from building materials and tools further worsen indoor air quality. Dampness and poor ventilation exacerbate the problem, necessitating a multifaceted approach to address indoor pollution, he added.

Dr. Sharanbir Kaur Bal, an Associate professor specializing in Family Resource Management, discussed various strategies to combat indoor pollution, including proper ventilation, the use of exhaust fans, and the integration of indoor plants. She underscored the role of indoor plants in improving air quality by reducing toxic waste and enhancing overall well-being. Indoor plants not only purify the air but also create a connection to nature, promoting happiness and a sense of well-being. Additionally, they can regulate humidity and act as natural air conditioners, positively impacting the indoor environment. Dr. Bal suggested that homemakers can play a pivotal role in promoting the use of indoor plants to combat pollution effectively.

Dr. Bal elaborated on research conducted in 2018, which aimed to assess the effectiveness of specific indoor plants in enhancing indoor air quality. The study involved selecting four widely used household plants — Syngonium, Money Plant, Areca palm, and rubber plant. These plants were strategically placed in various rooms like the living area, bedroom, kitchen, and drawing room. For a comprehensive assessment, precise instruments were utilized. An ‘Air Quality Monitor’ gauged carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels, while a thermometer observed room temperature, and a hygrometer measured relative humidity.

The results demonstrated a notable enhancement in air quality in all rooms with indoor plants. Carbon dioxide levels primarily fell within the 501-999 ppm range, well below the permissible limit of 1000 ppm. Carbon monoxide levels were mostly below 3.5 ppm, adhering to the permissible limit of 9 ppm. Moreover, the indoor plants effectively improved humidity levels, maintaining them below the permissible limit of 60%, along with temperatures above 24°C, contributing to a healthier indoor environment.

These findings underscore the importance of addressing indoor air pollution and integrating indoor plants as a simple yet powerful solution to enhance the quality of indoor air and elevate the well-being of individuals.

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